DALLAS — Despite not selecting in the first round, the Dallas Mavericks are hopeful that they can strike it rich when they go digging for talent in June’s NBA Draft.
Losing their first-round pick after it was conditionally protected through the top 20 selections following the Lamar Odom trade with the Los Angeles Lakers back in December of 2011, the Mavericks would eventually forfeit the 21st overall selection in this year’s draft to Oklahoma City. However, with the draft pool believed to be the deepest in years, the Mavs still believe that they’ll be able to pick up a player capable of contributing immediately after acquiring the 34th overall selection from Boston to accompany their own pick at No. 51.
“We’ll be looking at the draft. I know we don’t have our first-round pick, but we have an early second,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said while turning his attention from the 2013-14 season. “That’s an important pick for us and it’s a deep draft, so we’re going to do our homework on that.”
Notable 34th picks in the last 13 drafts include Miami’s Mario Chalmers, Cleveland’s C.J. Miles and Chicago’s Carlos Boozer. The Mavs have also had recent success drafting at the 34th position before, taking former Marquette standout Jae Crowder during the second round in 2012 after he garnered Big East Player of the Year honors his senior season.
Taken one pick behind teammate Bernard James, Crowder has since started 24 total games and played in 78 outings in each of his first two seasons with the Mavericks. However, finding another second-round pick that’s ready to step in right away will now once again be the Mavs’ goal as the draft rapidly approaches.
“I don’t know of any young guys outside of the lottery that are going to be impact players, but it is a deep draft,” Mavs president of basketball operations and GM Donnie Nelson said. “You know, the difference between the early 20s and the 40s, I think most NBA guys have that kind of being the same pool of players. So, we’re fairly well-positioned with the [34th] pick. It’s almost like it’s got first-round potential, and then of course we’ve got our later second-round pick. And so we’ll be aggressive as always, whether it’s free agency or the draft, to put the best possible product on the floor next year.”